Monthly Archives: May 2019

Meet The Perky Nerd

When The Perky Nerd opened its doors in 2016, the San Fernando Valley was in for a treat—a unique alternative to the traditional comic bookstore. It was the comic bookstore the neighborhood didn’t think it needed, a safe haven for all things geek with a definitive feminine touch. An art gallery, gaming space, collectibles shop, cold brew coffee counter and comic bookstore housed in a store front. The Perky Nerd invited and welcomed all comic book fans—from the newly initiated to the veterans of fandom and everyone in between.

Owner Tiffany Melius’ early foray into the world of comics began with her hero, Captain Marvel.

“I went on a comic book hunt with my husband and he was like you should find a comic, too. I was definitely overwhelmed by the choices. Then I saw Carol Danvers on the cover of a Ms. Marvel issue and loved everything about her look. A badass in a leotard with thigh high boots that can fly. I’m in. I got all the issues they had and then never stopped reading. I loved her strong personality and how she seemed like someone I would want to be friends with. Plus, she had a cool style and a cat named Chewy,” Tiffany shared.

One of the reasons she opened The Perky Nerd was to provide a space for nerd just like herself to feel welcome and comfortable to explore, and evolve in their interests while making lifelong friends who share in a common interest.  Motivated to make a positive impact on the community, she provided a venue where people can escape their routines and the general hustle and bustle of the daily grind, somewhere where she herself would want to go if she didn’t open her own store.

Initially, Tiffany thought about opening a cat café because of her love of both cats and coffee.  But, it was a much bigger financial venture than she expected.  The cat café evolved into a comic café hybrid after she visited a woman owned comic book shop in Wisconsin.

“Being a very eclectic person and loving so many fandoms, I thought let’s put together all the things I love at cons.  Like artists alley by having local artists participate in art shows and featuring some of my favorites on a daily basis with their prints on hand to buy.  Funko Pops, apparel, bags, home goods (we’ve actually had an R2D2 french press in stock) just random awesome things like that in one place.  Plus, form the community by having book clubs and gaming in addition to supporting the behind the comics with signings and panels.”, said Tiffany of the store’s conception.

The name Perky Nerd was a merger of an emphasis on both the coffee and nerd aspects, a place in New York called the “Perky Peacock” and a love for Central Perk on television series, FRIENDS.

Because a female designed, owned and operated comic bookstore is a rarity, Tiffany was asked about any challenges she’s had to face: “Running a business, not to mention a brick and mortar, is a beast.  There’s so much that goes into it, including tremendous stress about money.  I’m just going to be honest—I worked the store seven days a week with a baby on my hip and I questioned my decision daily, especially when no one comes in during the day because they are at work.  Being a woman in this industry was something on my mind, but I didn’t have too much time to think about it because I was constantly planning and running events to get our name out there and get more awareness of our existence.  I’ve had such a positive reception in Burbank on Magnolia Blvd.  It’s made things easier and not going to lie, cuter.  I got lucky finding such a perfect storefront that attracts foot traffic, even if I’m not by Porto’s (bakery).”

The Perky Nerd hosted (and continue to host) a number of events, from signings to book club meetings to the gaming tournaments.  One of their favorite and most popular event was the Carrie Fisher Tribute Art show, in honor of the late Carrie Fisher.  The store was packed with cosplayers and fans and the event included a light saber salute as well as a glitter bomb outside of the store to celebrate the late Ms. Fisher’s favorite thing:  glitter.

Nominated for the 2019 Will Eisner Sprit of Comics Retailer Award, Tiffany expressed being both overwhelmed and surprised but after reading the details of said award, she feels that the Perky Nerd is a definite contender.  Though the store was initially designed by Molly Rainze, Tiffany and her team constantly strive for excellence in their presentation by shaking up the common comic book store look with their own style.  The nomination is definitely an opportunity for The Perky Nerd to be recognized for their unique approach and possibly enable them to expand their ideas to the next level.

And, what exactly is the next level for The Perky Nerd? 

“There’s more to the Perky Nerd that we haven’t gotten into yet.  We want to expand the coffee biz into hot coffee.  We want to get a beer and wine permit.  I want to have a clothing boutique and possibly design some things I’d love to wear or wish were in existence.  I want to expand on the Mini Con idea.  I’d love to franchise.  I’d love an investor.  I have so many ideas that haven’t seen the light of day yet.  In looking back on the three years, I have forgotten HOW MUCH we’ve done—and the amount of events and variety of things I’ve tried.  I think the next three years could be pretty awesome if I keep up this pace.  Let’s see what the universe holds…stay tuned.”

The Perky Nerd is located at 1606 W Magnolia Blvd., Burbank 91506. For more information, call at (818)823-7511 or visit their website Like them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram @theperkynerd.

Get Fit in the 818: Tru Fit Bootcamp

Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher, once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”  When you walk through the doors of Tru Fit Bootcamp, you take that step and embark on a journey towards a better version of you, no matter what your fitness level and goal is.  Their motto:  Visualize.  Believe.  Achieve.

Their newest member, Ruben Pizano, lost 10 pounds of fat and gained about 5 pounds of muscles within three months of joining the gym and going to their Formula 104 Burn and Build classes—30 minute express classes focusing on bodyweight exercises.  Veteran member Christian Ylagan lost more than 25 lbs, shedding at least 10% body fat since he joined in 2017.

“Tru Fit Bootcamp came to me unexpectedly on St. Patrick’s Day of 2017 during the Friends and Family day.  I then decided to join the Fat Furnace Challenge and the results were unbelievable!”, shares Mr. Ylagan of his experience with Tru Fit, “I am not talking about weight loss, but also getting stronger and better in a lot of things.  Not to mention, having a better mindset, confidence, lifestyle choices, and perspective in life.  I can say that joining TruFit Bootcamp is one of the best things that I have done for myself.”

Tru Fit Bootcamp offers an all-inclusive strength and conditioning program focusing on three key aspects: mental fitness, nutrition, and the workout.  Their formula combines all these elements to help newcomers and members alike reach their goals and transform into the best possible versions of themselves.  Before attending any workout session, new and prospective members go through a group orientation as well as a consultation with one of the coaches to ensure the program is tailored to each individual’s needs: your mindset, nutrition, and overall health is taken into account.

The heart of Tru Fit Bootcamp is owner and head coach, Ditanyon Demps, an innovator with a vision and a passion for fitness as well as helping others achieve their fitness goals.  In 2000, his success with helping his college roommate lose over 40 lbs in three months inspired him to pursue his dream of helping others achieve the same fitness success.  Coach D, as he is known around the gym, spent almost two decades developing the Tru Fit formula and program, based on his experiences as a trainer working for Gold’s Gym and various clients’ homes throughout New York City.  His credentials include certifications with APEX, the National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT), the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as a lifestyle and weight management consultant, National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF) and the International Sports Science Association (ISSA).  He also has a Level 1 & 2 Trainer Certificate in CrossFit and accreditations in supplemental and sports supplementation, brain-based psychology, power and plyometrics, and Olympic weightlifting.

In 2011, Ditanyon opened the doors to Tru Fit Bootcamp in Sherman Oaks, CA, where the gym flourished and thrived.  To accommodate his growing clientele, the gym moved in July 2017 to their current location at one of the newly constructed airplane hangars on Balboa Blvd in Van Nuys.

Though Tru Fit Bootcamp offers classes to suit any fitness level, Coach D always encourages growth and development in his clients.  He is a firm believer of testing limits and challenging oneself to see what someone is truly capable of, although he balances this with injury prevention by emphasizing proper form.  During class, each work out is explained in detail and modifications are made for people with injuries or certain limitations.

His coaching team of Christina Wishart, Lisa Deidrich Rivera, Trei Wilson, and their newest addition, Jose Venegas, have all been trained and certified under the Tru Fit Program.  Though each may have a unique coaching style, all of them are very knowledgeable and ensure each member maximizes their workout sessions.

Coach Lisa joined TruFit after the crossfit gym she was going to closed.  With a CrossFit Level 1 certification, she coached Sunday Spartan race classes at her previous gym.

“I was really looking for a new place to call home.  After trying several other crossfit gyms, I tried 30 days at TruFit and immediately felt like I belonged.  I connected with like minded people and loved the fact that there are varying level classes to accommodate ANY fitness level.”, shares Coach Lisa. 

“Once Ditanyon heard that I coached previously, he began dropping hints about me coaching a class or two at Tru Fit. I am glad I took him up on that offer. I love coaching and helping people achieve their goals. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing someone climb a rope for the first time, get their first pull up, or flip a tire for the first time.”

What makes TruFit Bootcamp truly unique is its community—driven, supportive, and focused on the same goal: being better versions of themselves.  Walking into a new gym for the first time is intimidating enough but luckily, the Tru Fit community welcomes newcomers with open arms.  For many of its members, Tru Fit Bootcamp is their second home and their fitness family.

Tru Fit Bootcamp is located at Delta One 7900 Balboa Blvd, Van Nuys, CA 91406.  For more information, you can contact them at (424)537-1041 or email